FROM THE MARGINS

BODO-ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS CLASH HAUNTS ASSAM AGAIN

The clash between bodos and Illegal immigrants is back again. The trouble erupted when four Bodo youth were hacked to death by the residents of the Muslim dominated Jayapur village in Kokhrajhar. But the violence is not limited to kokhrajhar anymore and has spread to the district of Dhubri too. The death toll according has reached 32 and thousands have been displaced.

Bodo-bangladeshi immigrants has a deep rooted history. Political interests of a few politicians have given rise to the alarming situation. A few politicians in their quest for votes brought in more and more immigrants and settled them in erstwhile forest areas, consequently making the Bodos minorities in many regions which were otherwise their region. Thus, in the threat of identities, the Bodos started clashing with the immigrants and started their drive to throw the immigrants out of their area, thereby leading to ethnic clashes. Major events of clashes were seen in the 80s and the 90s when the Bodos were fighting for their territorial council. The recent clashes are just a follow-up to these events.

While many seem to blatantly blame the bodos for being the majority and succumbing to ethnic cleansing to wipe out the immigrants, it is not always so. Even the bodos are equally affected and many bodos had to flee their homes and remain in makeshift shelters either in the forests or in camps set up at schools.

The media has conveniently ignored to cover the news till yet. Had there been no social networking sites, people would not have been able to come to know about this violence. I have quietly been following the debate centering around Rajdeep Sardesai’s head of CNN-IBN. On being asked why the channel did not cover the news, he blatantly argued that there were not enough death till then. He of course later apologised and said that his tweet was ‘insensitive’. Now I find him giving space to the news and the channel covering a lot of it.

Its not mere bodo-immigrants clash, there was been widespread anger against the Bangaldeshi immigrants all over Assam. There is a lack of political will to solve the problem. The government of India and assam state keeps committing the same mistake again-wherein rather than looking for a long term solution, they start treating it as a security problem. And the solution is sending more and more troops to the affected places. More people die in the firings of the polices rather than the clashes itself. Here again, the same is being repeated. The government has deployed additional troops at the place and curfew is being declared in Kokhrajhar, Dhubri and Chirang.

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